Bigger Predators

Written August 19, 2008.

There are still days where I feel vulnerable to the world, and my reaction to that is either to hide away or to get out the teeth and claws, hyper-defensive of what's mine. Today is one of those days. I fear bigger predators (translation into human world: people who are more competent, more knowledgeable, just more than me) who might lay claim to what is mine and take it from me. I fear my own incompetence and weakness and ignorance.

I haven't been talking about things with anyone-- trying to do it all on my own. Hide the tiny little successes from bigger predators who might take them from me; I know it's irrational, but it's quite strong an instinct.

What I'm trying to do with my life is not easy. So I'm having to relearn what it means to be strong. And I'm having to teach myself how to fight for my own kills, even when I think I'm way outmatched. (I don't have the ability to realistically discern who really does outgun me and who is on equal footing, so I'm going to have to get in over my head a few times before I learn to tell the difference.)

Standing my ground is not first instinct. Barbaries are big fucking cats, but I'm a lioness. My species was an apex predator, but there were still bigger cats (males, some older/more skilled females) out there who could take my kills and waltz through my territory like they owned it. I back down, live to hunt another day, when confronted with superior force.

But I forget that these things don't always apply in the human world, and I forget that I'm bad at distinguishing genuine superiority from first-impression falsity. I forget that firmness and stubbornness will often prevail, even in the face of overwhelming odds. I forget that my tenacity and my diplomacy can work minor miracles.

I learn to compromise by becoming more secretive, more selective in those around whom I can be vulnerable. I trust very few people completely - my mate and my sister and a tiny handful of very close friends. Sometimes, I hide from even them.

I need to grow out of the timid young lioness, shed that skin and cast it away, and walk with red paws on my chosen path.

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